Passing Bull 195 – Defiling the dead


People who play around with geniuses like Shakespeare or Mozart overestimate their ability and worth to an extent that might make even Donald Trump blush.  They also defile the work and the art of the dead.  Their haughty conceit is staggering.  We may have been able to get over Glenda Jackson playing the lead role in Sam Gold’s King Lear on Broadway – although ‘humility’ does not come easily to your lips with that lady – but she was not the only one in the part of a male, and the three daughters had three very distinctive accents.

The New Yorker is not amusedAccording to Hilton Als, this director has form.  He sent out an actress with muscular dystrophy to play a key role in The Glass Menagerie.  This, said Mr Als, takes the audience hostage – if you condemned the casting, you could be splattered with all kinds of abuse.  It’s a bit like that South African runner who looks like a bloke and who runs like one but who competes as a woman.  If you take the side of the badly beaten women, you get canned for intolerance – for a want of sympathy for ‘gender fluidity.’  Balls.  I just don’t want my night out at the theatre to be ruined by some arrogant puppeteer who is out to make a political point and to bignote himself – or herself – or itself.

What about Lear?

In a way, it’s impossible to review Gold’s staging of ‘King Lear,’ because, in the arrogance of its conception, it turns up its nose at the plebeian notion of simply providing the audience with what it wants: Shakespeare’s words, that accumulation of more intelligence and insight about humanity than it seems possible for one mind to have produced….I grew increasingly consumed by questions about what was happening onstage and why.

Precisely.  And that’s before you get to the poetry.

If I said that I could improve on Einstein’s theory of relativity, I would fairly be dismissed as mad.  But these swaggerers behind the stages of theatre and opera do not have that out.  We should assess these directors like we assess judges and AFL umpires – if we hardy know that they are there, they have done well.  If their interference with proceedings catches our attention and annoys us, they have botched it – big time – and they should be given time off in the sticks to repent and reform.


So far, the special investigator probe and report by Robert Mueller are a significant victory for Donald Trump.

This is because the Democrats and other Trump critics have so wildly overplayed their hands and because Mueller, too, has not conducted himself well.

Of course there is in the full Mueller report stuff that shows Trump is unpleasant, but there is nothing on which Mueller can recommend any charges at all.

Greg Sheridan, The Weekend Australian, 20-21 April, 2019

As bullshit goes, this is in the category that Kant may have called transcendental.  Every word drips with wrongness.  Among other things, what would a person who (1) is not a lawyer or copper and (2) has not read the report know?  We have thought that Mr Sheridan may have had some intelligence, but we have long known that he has zero judgment.  Mueller is everything that trump is not.  Who but a lunatic could compare Trump favourably to Mueller?

This rubbish shows how we in this country have completely failed to develop a press that might fairly be called ‘conservative.’  No conservative properly so called could regard the aberration of populism called Donald Trump as anything but a disaster for the U S and the world.  When Mr Sheridan refers to ‘stuff that shows Trump is unpleasant’, he shows that he is craven as well as inane.

And Mr Sheridan has a new toy – ‘bloviation’.  It will not be long before that little chap with the silly beard gets on to it.  Wikipedia says:

Bloviation is a style of empty, pompous political speech particularly associated with Ohio due to the term’s popularization by United States President Warren G. Harding, who, himself a master of the technique, described it as ‘the art of speaking for as long as the occasion warrants, and saying nothing’.

Well now, for a political commentator in the Murdoch press to accuse someone of bloviation must be an instance of what psychologists call projection.

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